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i found this on Facebook - i wasn't looking for this-if i had i probably would know  who wrote this ...

i am sharing this and will read it again soon

i need to look up a few things in this letter


A Note to Christian Conservatives

I had a conversation on another thread with a conservative friend that bears repeating for a larger audience. First, I want to say welcome, welcome to all who wish to participate here respectfully. You do not have to be of one theological persuasion to be a fan of this film and engage. This space is about listening, sharing, and learning to love even if all aren't all sure what they believe. We can love each other through theological differences, as we see modeled in this film. But that takes those who have historically been in the more powerful position (that is heterosexuals and cisgender individuals) getting off our assumed position of superiority and recognizing that others have their own walk with God. I don't know why, but this seems to be the hardest piece for humans to acknowledge--that others can and do have a valid walk with God that doesn't look exactly like what we think it should or what we imagine we'd work out with God in a similar situation. Maybe that's why Jesus had to make unconditional love a new commandment. We need it to be a command from God to step into that.

We've observed a huge shift happening in conservative religious spaces as we've traveled around for screenings. Most Christians, particularly Adventists, still wrestle with their theological views around same-sex love and commitment but don't want to exclude people anymore, and they are tired of Christianity seeming to focus exclusively on this one thing. As Brian McClaren says, "Jesus didn't say that they'll know you are my disciples by your firm stance on divisive social issues." These are people like my mom who realize that it was Jesus who said, "Go and sin no more,"  not any human. So, even if same-sex love is the same as adultery in God's eyes, it's God's job to judge, not ours. Ours is to love. And I absolutely think that's great. I don't believe we have to have unity theologically about this. We sure don't about a lot of other things (just think about women's ordination, creation/origins, atonement theories, the nature of the trinity, Sabbath-keeping practices, etc.)! But this is what people are getting excluded for. And most of the conservatives I encounter want that rejection and exclusion to end. They've heard the suicide statistics, they've witnessed the pain, and they often now know someone who is LGBT and realize their stereotypes don't match the person they know and love. That's exactly why we see such transformative "before/after" looks on people's faces at screenings--now they know someone, and that is life-changing, even if they still have big and valid questions.

And to those who are conservative on the question of same-sex love, let me urge you to please, please not use adultery as a comparison when you speak of gay/lesbian committed relationships (and marriage in much of the country now). Justin Lee had a great post about this a while back that really explains it well (


). I get what you mean, but two committed people in a marriage are very different from someone cheating on your spouse, even if in your mind both are sin. Does that make sense? I don't think heterosexuals would ever want their love and commitment compared to something that is harmful, exploitive, or just cheating.

To me, I think it's helpful for someone with a conservative theological paradigm to use divorced/remarried heterosexuals whose marriage didn't end because their spouse was unfaithful. That's a whole lot of people in the church today who actually used to be excluded/disfellowshipped/shamed. Jesus is really clear about the grounds for divorce, and we have changed our attitude (not on paper policies, mind you, but in practice) both for practical reasons (if we enforced the Biblical view of divorce we'd not have anyone left to help run the church these days) and for compassionate reasons. People realize that while it might not be ideal or the original plan, there are some marriages that are more harmful than good, and we make the best of it (and no longer exclude these people). Technically, a remarried person whose spouse didn't commit adultery is living in sin. Just as conservatives would say a gay or lesbian couple is. But we don't ask questions of heterosexual couples joining our church, and nobody would expect a remarried heterosexual couple to break up their family (what if they have kids?) before being a part of our church life. I don't think it's too much to ask that churches treat their LGBT members like they treat their heterosexual members.

There is a profound shift happening today with marriage, and there actually always has been if we pay attention to history. Who did Adam and Eve's children marry? I don't think we'd want to literally apply that principle today, even though it's Biblical. And most of the great heroes of the Bible had many wives. And my own marriage (I'm a heterosexual mom married for 15 years to my college sweetheart) didn't exist in Biblical times--I would have been property without any equal standing legally or morally with my husband. Let's not forget that the Bible allows women who were shown not to be virgins on their wedding to be stoned or for rapists to get off the hook if they married the victim! 

We do the scriptures and their wonderful guidance for our lives a disservice when we act as if it's not a text that we keep re-interpreting as we know more about God and the people around us who are also equally beloved children of God. That's what we've done with the role of women and slavery, and Christians are earnestly wondering if we have gotten our long-held assumptions wrong about sexual orientation just like we did before. The Bible is not anti-slavery. And yet, we now would emphatically teach that slavery is morally wrong. We have changed our interpretation even though the actual words didn't change. You are welcome to be here even if you don't know what you believe about the morality of same-sex love, but I'd ask you to please remember that others have also wrestled with scripture, God, and their own experiences. And their perspectives and spiritual journeys are equally valid. We can ask questions and stay within that listening and learning space.

Also, let me urge conservatives (and progressives too) to move beyond a theological debate. So, go ahead and wrestle with the few "clobber texts" we have to deal with on the back burner, but make the real question about how we treat people even if we aren't in 100 percent agreement. The various church officials are always wanting to plan another committee to reaffirm their theological stance, probably because they feel safe there. But that's not where the practical and pastoral questions really are. How do we treat each other? Where does a committed gay/lesbian couple, who have been together for 20 years, take their kids to go to Sabbath School when they want their kids to grow up Adventist? Where does an LGBT person share their spiritual gifts? It's unrealistic (and actually cruel) to expect every gay Adventist to leave their families to follow the policy on paper before being a part of the community of faith. And, I speak from experience now, we are all so, so much richer when our circle has diversity! Churches that are truly welcoming (and there are a growing number of Adventist ones) are absolutely marvelous spaces because everyone, gay and straight, feels okay showing up as their authentic selves instead of feeling like they have to put their "church facade" on. It's absolutely a blessing to all to become welcoming to those currently on the margins.

As Herb Montgomery recently preached, "It's not enough to just be Biblical. We have to also be followers of Jesus." And following Jesus is much, much harder than just not doing certain things written on a tablet. The law is largely about what not to do. But following Jesus is active. It's about doing love, justice, and mercy. Jesus' ministry was so radical and threatening to the authorities of his day that he was crucified. Just re-read the Sermon on the Mount for a reminder of what it means to go about Kingdom work. It's about radical love and inclusivity, even to those who those in the audience had heard were okay to exclude (like enemies).

And when you read Paul, read all of Paul (the very next chapter after the infamous clobber text in Romans 1 says that those who judge others are worse that all of the vices listed in the previous chapter). As another preacher taught recently, you shouldn't stop reading Paul until you get to a "Therefore" because Paul's intent was always to indict everyone, including himself, and call all into grace. 

While we are at it, go ahead and read about the huge debate breaking apart the first-century Christian church: circumcism. Not requiring new converts to be circumcised absolutely went against everything first-century Christians, who were primarily Jews, had been taught in their scriptures. It went against a direct command from God. And yet, they were seeing God's spirit poured out among un-circumcised gentiles, and they had to reckon with that. An Adventist pastor who came to a screening recently mentioned this to me afterwards. "I see God at work in the lives of the people in your film, and I don't know what to do with that, but I can see they are seeking Christ like I am, and I don't want them excluded from church." 

That is exactly what we are called to do when we see God at work in people and places we didn't expect. It's actually very Adventist to believe that God still is at work (that's why Adventists believe in "Present Truth"). I'm not expecting us all to have theological unity anytime soon--maybe ever--but we must wrestle.  And in the meantime, we must love well. That's where our energy needs to be directed. How do we love well, especially those currently on the margins? After all, that's what Jesus and Paul say is the most important thing: 

"Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. The law code—don’t sleep with another person’s spouse, don’t take someone’s life, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t always be wanting what you don’t have, and any other “don’t” you can think of—finally adds up to this: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love." - Romans 13: 8-10

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Replies to This Discussion

By what authority should I do what you say?"

If you are taking sentences of my post out of its context and misrepresent the meaning of what i wrote you better accept my authority to tell you not to do that else we can end any and all discussion right away because it is completely pointless from this point on.

Does one need an arrow and directions on how to read a thread.

Never the less. 


You should have read and accept the next sentence:

"...That being said neither is perfect but liberalism is coming closer.."

"Does one need an arrow and directions on how to read a thread.

Never the less. "


never the less common courtesy not to misrepresent what was said and take the proper context and not parts of it should be a given.

Apparently i was wrong to expect that.

I know it from now on.

Does one need an arrow and directions on how to read a thread.

Never the less. "


never the less common courtesy not to misrepresent what was said and take the proper context and not parts of it should be a given.

Apparently i was wrong to expect that.

I know it from now on.

I have included everything above so the readers will see the context.

Apparently i was wrong to expect that.

I know it from now on.

Well apparently I have stepped on your toes or this could be your way of discrediting me with mock indignation but  regardless I will wish you a better day a head. Blessings.

"Well apparently I have stepped on your toes or this could be your way of discrediting me with mock indignation but  regardless I will wish you a better day a head. Blessings."

I am just tired to have parts of my statements constantly taken out of its context to discredit. 

Cant understand that? Fine with me.. As  i said i know it from now on.

Sigh... Sometimes I wonder what would Jesus say about the immaturity of the forum poster's debates.


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